Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Friends Like These

Is safeguarding the life and rights of religious minorities a responsibility of the government? In the context of Pakistan, present or past, it appears not to be the case.

So is the targeted killing and persecution of religious minorities actually a credit to the government?

If you follow a certain Mr. Faisal Raza Abidi, it would seem so. For wherever Faisal Raza goes these days, he wears the badge of minority rights with great pride and greater pompousness. It’s quite mesmerizing actually.

For instance, I was dumbfounded when I saw him invoking the names of dead Shia leaders, at the top of his voice, to batter an anchor into submission. The fact that these leaders had been killed on the watch of a PPP government that seemed not in the least bit interested, or bothered, about their life or death, was lost on Abidi.

I mean we have seen a lot in the last 4 years or so, granted. But vying for political mileage over dead bodies? That too of people you were sworn to and failed to, or didn’t want to, protect. I really cannot come up with an analogy.

You may ask what allows Abidi and company to get away this. How can they stand by and watch as their citizens are butchered and then shout about it on TV? Well, it’s the media. Or a certain section of the media.

This is the section that lays claim to the moral high ground more often than WAPDA cuts your power. They are the champions of free speech, of tolerance and are great friends of the minorities in Pakistan. They are also great friends of the PPP, but don’t say that out loud.

It’s peculiar how these mild mannered folk, who believe in tolerance and abhor abusive trolls, love the slightly less mild mannered Faisal Raza. It’s also peculiar how they oversee, everyday, what the PPP has done to minorities in Pakistan.

How? The “Deep State”. It remains the refuge of the PPP apologist. They hide behind it, pleading that their liberal party is helpless. They say the party’s hands are tied.

Yet there is much they don’t say.

They don’t say how there is more sectarian strife in the country today than when the military was directly in power, under Musharraf. They don’t say how the siege of Shia-Hazaras in Balochistan intensified under the current regime or how the PPP Chief Minister can’t even feign pity for them. Let alone the President.

They don’t say how this government has failed to control growth of sectarian outfits throughout the country, from Sindh to Gilgit to Balochistan. They don’t say that the PPP has failed to introduce stricter anti-terrorism legislation either. Apparently the Deep State wanted to do away with the third time prime minister clause instead? It also demanded public office holders be granted immunity from contempt proceedings.

It’s not that these people don’t have a voice. They speak ferociously enough, just not when the “secular” parties are involved. Suppose one “Sheeda Tully”, classy btw, was involved in forceful conversion of Hindu girls. Nusrat Javed might have spontaneously combusted on TV. It was though a PPP MNA, so he's safe. Similarly, imagine if an Imran Khan government were to incarcerate an 11 year old Christian girl on blasphemy charges. Now imagine Sana Bucha. Exactly.

The fact is, an ulema council has actually come out to support the girl. In the meantime former Prime Minister, upholder of the constitution and champion of the masses, Yousaf Raza Gillani has claimed credit for Bhutto’s Ahmedi achievement.

Still there is scant chance Muhammad Hanif will find himself in a seat next to the former PM on one of his travels.

None of these champions of minority rights will ask the PPP why they have been this inhuman, this unmoved and this complicit in the atrocities committed. They will instead write one harrowing tale after the other, each ending before the victims can lodge a complaint against their government. A government that not only abandoned them, it persecuted them as well.

It is however a PPP government, so that must not make it to the papers. It doesn’t need to, man. You wrote a vague story from a distant land, such bravery would put a lion to shame. You outdid yourself sire. Your best article ever, for the third time this week! Bla bla bla.

Young “jiyalas” don’t grow up to be unbiased commentators. A Radio only broadcasts its feed. Institutes don’t fund themselves.

There is so much this county has given to minorities isn’t there. And prominent among our many gifts - are friends like these.



  2. You have raised some very valid points, totally agree with you on Faisal Raza Abidi, the guy is one the biggest "draamabaz'' i've ever seen in my life. Having said that i would politely disagree with you on few points. In my opinion any discussion on secterian violence in Pakistan is incomplete without the mention of our security establishment abetting such criminal elements. People who are engaed in Secterian violence nowadays have been part of the games our military had played in the past. Most of them are the same Jihadis who had been used by our military in Kashmir and Afghanistan. Hassan Abbas in his book has mentioned a few instances during NS's second term where military used these elements to undermine the writ of civilan government. Any attempts by the civilan administration to control these elements were not successful as these elements were under the patronage of security agencies, The safe heavens in FATA and Afghanistan (Camp Yaawar) were used by military to train these elements. Civilian authorities were helpess against these elements and the army establishement effectively used their failure as a propaganda against Civilian government. Police officials were shot in broad day light (in one case shooter was a Pak army subedar who was on leave from his station), judges were harrassed, witness were threatened. In short all efforts by the civilan governement were made to fail by the security establishement and its jihadi proxies. The Punjab government had to resort to establishement on ATC to deal with these elements, when it didnt work shhot at sight orders were isseud for people like Riaz Basra etc. The reason for mentioning all this was that secterian violence was used as a blackmailing tool against the civilian government in the past. This is the reason that when military came to power in 1999 the incidents of secterian violence dropped significantly. By repating all this i want to convey the point that due to this attitude there is a serious trust deficit between the Army and the civilian government. Civilians authorities are still not sure about on whose side is our military establishment? It doesnt want to take any risk which they think can produce a situation which can then be exploited by our military establishment through their proxies. Recent blackmaling of the civilan government on this issue of NATO supply routes by the military backed PDC proves that the tactics of military governement have yet to undergo some change. Even now police is reluctant to act against extremist organisations like LEJ because of their links with the military establishment. Similarly your arguement about "failed legislation", it has been widely reported in the newspapers that civilans investigative authortites constantly complains about military intellligence lack of cooperation, whenever MI or ISI grabs any terrorist it never share their investigations with the Poilce, FIA and even refuse to present the material in the courts. This partly expains failure of the civilian institutions to deal with the menace of secterian violence and feeling powerless our civilain govt has lost interest in it. In order to deal with this issue the first step would be to make sure that our army wouldnt support such elements, they need to realise that using its own citizens for fighting proxy wars of other countries (Saudi Arabia and USA in the past) is not the right way to go, it needs to change its approach. The issue is not about minorities and Shias only, Baloch and Pashtuns are also persecuted in the same way. The most important thing is that Army should abondon its belligerent approach towards its citizens and neighbouring countries. Once that is done we wouldnt have any need for monsters like Malik Ishaq, Hafiz Saeed,and we would be able to overcome the extremism and intolernce in our society.

    (sorry for my grammer and spelling mistakes)

  3. Though no liberal (need I say FAKE?) will admit it; they all like & condone the venom being spit out daily by this Zardari-pet a.k.a Faisal Raza Abidi.
    Disgusts one to the core when he blames Chief Justice for killings of Shias and countless others when in reality it is his - PPP - government that is responsible for controlling it.
    Wonder when will Faisal Raza Abidi accuse Chief Justice for the "Karbala Carnage"? Alas. Such a disgusting character and his far more disgusting Pen-accomplices (a.k.a Liberal Fascists).
    If this is the standard for being liberal then our leader - Imran Khan - is right when he calls them the "Scum" of Pakistan. Is Faisal Raza Abidi & (his defendants) any better than SCUM?

  4. All the parties of Pakistan have people from different sects and doctrines, they just dont have the power to control them.
    ruling party is always criticised by other parties so they stay aware of their power and presence.
    Army is also a party which is strongest of all, they come whenever they want with no honour or shame they always tell us fairy-tales which are very effective for most of us to believe they are true.
    and there is another undercover party which is our system of corrupt civil servants who are selected by themselves to rule for unlimited period of time, they retire and reinstated on the basis of their previous service records which is always neat and clean and they are always welcomed by our leaders.
    Our leaders , army and every Pakistani is controlled by this system and they (civil servants)will never allow any real revolution because they fear the new system will uncover their evil role in destroying this country just to secure their position they use Army, politicians , and sometime assassins to go through the red tape of system.
    Shias, sunnis, wahabis ,party leaders and generals are just puppets, they can be used against each others whenever the system want.
    and fasil raza abdi must visit his PPP area which is the home town of riaz basra a LEJ leader who was killed in encounter in punjab, they are voters and supporters of PPP.